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#1 Grimmas

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 10:35 PM

Discuss here.



#2 Shining Wiz

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 07:14 PM

I have never been able to enjoy a Bruno match. I find him difficult to watch.

#3 Ricky Jackson

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 07:18 PM

Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooo



#4 Shining Wiz

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 07:12 AM

The truth hurts.  :)



#5 Ricky Jackson

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 07:58 PM

Bruno was a great pro wrestler. I would compare him to John Wayne. Amazing charisma, amazing presence, and a great performer with a very strong emotional connection with his audience. But you won't find him on top 10 lists because he doesn't wow the critics with his versatility (workrate)



#6 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 08:30 PM

Bruno is better on the mat than you think; he has better psychology thank you think; he's better at selling than you think; he's better at making a fired up comeback than practically anyone I can think of, including Rick Martel and Hulk Hogan.

One of my biggest surprises over the past year has been just how much I've loved watching Bruno work. It will seem crazy to some that Backlund is probably not making my top 100, but Bruno probably is. But he was just a master at what he did.

#7 Shining Wiz

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 11:27 AM

I always found him really stiff (movement sense, not hard hitting sense) and wooden. Obviously had a great connection with the crowd, but has never floated my boat. Any suggestions to see if he can win me over?

#8 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 11:21 PM

One thing I've been thinking about Bruno recently is that his style seems unique.

I'd describe it as "charging Gorilla". There's something really rugged and rough around the edges to him.

Can anyone think of anyone else who worked like Bruno did?

#9 Exposer

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 10:41 AM

For what it's worth, I love old man Bruno throwing Piper and Savage around in cages. I've basically seen no Bruno prior to 1985.



#10 Shining Wiz

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 11:52 AM

Can anyone think of anyone else who worked like Bruno did?


Thankfully, no. :)

#11 W2BTD

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 09:40 PM

I always end up liking Bruno matches more than I think i'm going to before I watch them. He really is pretty great at selling and then making a fiery comeback, in part because he's so great in getting the people behind him. 



#12 Johnny Sorrow

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 12:12 AM

Bruno is the Greatest Champion of all time. No one in any promotion has exemplied "Champion" like Bruno.

#13 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 11:09 AM

Have to agree with Johnny, he's not exaggerating. He wasn't just a champion either, he was a genuine hero. I think the "ethnic" card tends to be much too overplayed when discussing Bruno, it's clear that he was over with EVERYONE.

 

I also think Bruno's connection with the crowd was much more genuine than, for example, Hogan's. They talk about when Hogan went back to places month after month it was a case of diminishing returns, because a certain amount of Hogan's overness has always been based on novelty: i.e. it's the pop you get at seeing the massive icon. Once a crowd "gets used" to Hogan, some of the excitement dies down. Hogan was champ-as-special attraction.

 

A guy like Cena could only dream of having the sort of connection with the crowd Bruno did.

 

Given how crowds turned on Dusty in 88, I think you can argue that Bruno also connected better and deeper even than him.

 

There's something really unique about what Bruno meant at MSG, the Spectrum, and in those secondary markets like Boston and Pittsburgh.

 

It's a quality that is extremely difficult to quantify, and it's more than "aura" or "x-factor" that you could point to with guys like The Rock or Riki Choshu. Bruno had something else ...

 

Authenticity, genuine integrity, values ... trust.

 

This all sounds ridiculous, but I think it's true. Bruno was more than just another headliner or star to that audience, in a way that has very few parallels. Perhaps Baba or Inoki had "that" to the same sort of extent.

 

Does all of this make the guy a great worker? I think -- if you take some of the non-work-rate-y sort of criteria like charisma or "aura", or crowd control, or connection with an audience -- Bruno is 10/10 in practically all of them.

 

I'm also totally willing to admit that he SOMEHOW made me, a lifelong heel fan -- and one who was getting very weary and bored by late 70s WWF, Vince Sr's formulaic booking and all the rest of it --  a Bruno mark, years after the fact. He has *something* special about him. It's very difficult to know how I'm going to rank him.



#14 MoS

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 11:21 AM

I remember once Meltzer compaing Austin to Bruno and Rock to Hogan in terms of connection with the crowd. I think that is an interesting comparison to make. Rock was larger-than-lie and had the superstar charisma of Hogan. Austin had Bruno's genuine, earthy charisma, and a sense of belonging which the crowd felt. Do you agree with that comparison, Parv?



#15 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 11:40 AM

I do think Austin was more authentic than either Rock or Hogan, but the main problem with the comparison to Bruno is that he was on top from 1963 till 1980, and he was even brought in to headline some shows in the mid-late 80s.

 

Part of what Bruno had was that innate earthiness and integrity that I'm talking about, but another part of it is having been there year-on-year for so long. I don't think the connection was forged overnight, whereas I do think Austin was more of an "overnight sensation".

 

This is also going to be a weird thing to point out, but if you look for Austin's biggest pops, they are usually as the glass shatters and he walks out from backstage OR when he's delivering a stunner to Vince or whatever.

 

If you look at Bruno, it's when he's introduced or when he's making his comeback during the match -- literally every single show.

 

Obviously, some of that is down to environment, but I think part of Austin's appeal was always the idea of him as an "impact" player. Bam! There's Stone Cold! Holy shit! Type thing. Bruno was getting over basically with no gimmicks or apparatus to help him.

 

Stick with me here ... I think if Stone Cold had gone for another 20 years, people would have surely got burnt out, because of that Bam! It's Stone Cold!! STONE COLD! Deal. It's just the way that character was booked. Even now when Stone Cold turns up, it's usually in that "unexpected impact", sort of way. There's only so many times you can go to that well, week in-week out before it starts getting old.

 

Not trying to knock Austin here, but rather try to get a measure of where some of his pops were coming from. I do agree that he had a special connection with crowds in the late 90s and "meant more" to people than your average babyface hero did.

 

If we're doing Austin vs. Bruno comparisons, there are areas where I think Austin has Bruno beat. Better promo (although Bruno was pretty great in his own right). Probably a better worker all-in-all. Better matches on tape. Greater variety of ways of working, certainly. But in "crowd connection" Austin's about an 93 whereas Bruno is a 100 and probably a "once in a 100 years" sort of deal.



#16 Steenalized

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 12:02 PM

Have to agree with Johnny, he's not exaggerating. He wasn't just a champion either, he was a genuine hero. I think the "ethnic" card tends to be much too overplayed when discussing Bruno, it's clear that he was over with EVERYONE.

A little anecdote about that: earlier this year I was having dinner with a professor of mine/director of a clinic I worked at. I mentioned that I've been powerlifting in my free time and he mentioned that growing up in Pittsburgh he used to go to a YMCA or some other gym. Turns out Bruno Sammartino used to lift there and my professor mentioned what a huge fan he was of Bruno. I stunned him when I mentioned that I not only knew of but actually knew something about Bruno and Killer Kowalski. Antonino Rocca apparently was his favorite as a kid but he got noticeably happier when we talked about him and Bruno. This wasn't a case of ethnic pride, my professor is German/Jewish, but Bruno genuinely seemed like a childhood hero or idol for him. 



#17 MoS

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 12:05 PM

i mostly agree about the special connection which Bruno had, and I agree that Austin was an overnight sensation while Bruno's legend was moulded and crafter with time. I do not want to turn this into an Austin v. Bruno debate, but I would say that while his pops were loudest for his entrance and his stunners, the crowd would be molten hot throughout. The reason I say this is because I do think Austin was genuinely loved by the audience just like Bruno was. I remember MSG chanting his name all the time during his match with 'Taker, at Summerslam, for example. And I do think Austin would have burnt out in 20 years, but that is more because of how much exposure he had during his time. It is interesting you say he would have burnt out, because the reason I thought of this is because Meltzer was talking about his heel turn when he compared him to Bruno, and said there was a reason Bruno never turned, and Austin should not have either. 

 

In any case, I thought no one got pops like Austin did, and then I saw Bruno. I would still give Austin the edge there, but that is more due to crowd demographics and better sound equipments. The pin-drop silence after he lost his title in 1972 is probable the most eerie moment in wrestling. 

 

Also, is Ric Flair's allegation about Bruno receiving crickets in St. Louis is true? I mean, I obviously do not expect the reception to be like MSG, but Bruno has always said that he got big pops wherever he went because fans knew him because of all the New York magazines. 



#18 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 12:17 PM

Larry Matysik has definitely said more than once that Bruno was not over in St. Louis and never popped the gate for them either, which is backed up by the numbers.

 

The loudest and most electric crowds I've ever heard are those from MSG and Philly in 1980 for Larry Zbysko vs. Bruno. *I think* it's the 03/24/80 MSG show and the 04/12/80 Philly show. We were legit stunned at those crowds. The MSG and Spectrum crowds were generally pretty hot even for Backlund on an average night, but those two nights in particular they were something else. "White heat" and I am struggling to think of another time when I've seen anything like it. Certainly blew me away. It's like those crowds somehow found another secret gear of hotness hitherto only witnessed by the gods. Still probably the coolest thing we've seen on Titans to date.



#19 MoS

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 12:24 PM

To the people who know, what do the numbers say about the shows Bruno headlined during the 80s? I have heard him claim more than once that the numbers would drop because the law of diminishing returns would apply to hogan like Parv said, and he had to be brought back to the ring to boost up the numbers. did Bruno manage to do that? I would count that as a huge plus in the post-prime category if he did manage to do it, for the sheer longevity of it. 



#20 Jetlag

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Posted 14 July 2015 - 07:31 AM

What are the Top 5 Bruno matches? I've seen him vs. Baba, Larry and Hansen.






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